Accent and Dialect Essay

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In the context of language explain what is meant by accent and dialect. How do differences of accent and dialect affect ways in which people perceive each other? (30 marks) In the context of language, accent means the way words are pronounced and dialect is the actual words and grammar used in different areas/regions. Some examples of different accents and dialect are used by upper, middle and working class. The upper and middle class use an accent called Received Pronounciation and the dialect is known as standard English. The Queen uses R.P and therefore it is seen as the ‘proper’ way to talk in England, However, working class people use a regional accent. This implied that they have not moved around a lot and they have not adopted any other accent. Perceiving others is defined as assessing others, on the basis of their verbal and non-verbal communication. We make perceptions to remember information, maintain our self and view of reality and to reduce anxiety. This final point, however, may increase anxiety rather than reduce it if one day a working class person were to speak to someone in the upper class. They mob believe they will be looked down upon as they have not travelled as far or do not speak in R.P. We form first impressions through perception, which involves acquiring data or information. However, from this data, we can make dangerous generalisations and typical stereotypes. Our perceptions are usually based on pace, vocabulary and stereotypes. R.P is associated with upper class and although only a small minority use it, it represents power, prestige and privilege. It is heard all over the country and is used in dictionaries and on the BBC. Power is seen as dominance, which is why most politicians speak in R.P/ Before the 18th century there wasn’t a standard accent. The industrial revolution meant people could be trans-ported
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